(Letter to John Duncan, Minister of Parliament for Vancouver Island North.)
This is the fourteenth year of non-retention of unclipped coho in Area 12 after Aug. 1.
This closure came on without any prior consultation with local stake holders or the Sport Fishing Advisory Board.
We were assured, at the time, this would be short term.
But 14 years is not short term.
We are victims of the Fraser River Political Salmon Management Plan.
Before Aug. 1 when coho are rare, we’re allowed one.
During August and September when there are lots of coho, we’re allowed none.
No one can explain the reasoning behind this nonsense.
This August and September we had an extended seine opening in our area. There were thousands of cohos and chinook killed in this fishery.
When a fisheries patrol boat is watching, there seems to be some attempt not to kill those salmon that are not to be retained.
No patrol boat nearby, we see fish hanging in nets for more than five minutes, crew kicking fish off decks and a complete disrespect for these beautiful fish.
Maybe some boats try their best, but all of us in the Telegraph Cove area see way too much of the abuse.
Two weeks ago I was in Port Hardy and noticed one boat trailer in the public parking lot.
No sports catch of halibut and non-retention of wild coho.
Pretty sad for King Coho Country and a town trying to be the sports fishing capital of the west coast.
The allocation of halibut quotas is wrong from any legal or ethical view.
How can almost all of a resource that belongs to the people of Canada be given to 450 boat owners, to be rented, sold or held by family forever?
Now there are only 150 boats fishing halibut, renting quota from these 300 with quotas that don’t fish.
When my brother phoned Fisheries about the halibut issue he asked how they knew how many halibut were sports caught.
He was told creel surveys, lodge counts and aerial surveillances.
If you understand how you can fly around and determine how many halibut are being caught please call me.
Reminds me of the time U.B.C. biologists were counting deer turds on Koprino Harbour, trying to determine how many deer per square mile are on Northern Vancouver Island. Great survey.
Sport fishing on the B.C. coast is in a serious decline.
I believe it’s caused by two factors: children not having the opportunity to fish because they grow up in the urban areas, and the regulations that come out of D.F.O. that make no sense conservation-wise, but cause great frustration to honest and conscientious fishermen.
Recently friends of ours from Alberta came to visit and in Hope, B.C. they saw fresh Fraser River coho for sale on the main street.
This must be one of the reasons we can’t keep wild coho in Area 12.
If we took the budget of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa and hired intelligent biologists to restore the hundreds of streams on the B.C. coast that once produced salmon we could have salmon in abundance for all that utilize this resource; First Nations, sports and commercial fishermen.
Unfortunately we will never break this political pariah that is Fisheries and Oceans.
But in the meantime lets at lease be allowed ONE wild coho per day in 2012.
Is that too much?
Telegraph Cove, B.C.